THE 12-FOOT TEEPEE – AN AMAZON REVIEW

Obviously I didn’t write this.I would be embarrassed to say this much nice stuff about me, but I have to admit I’m delighted. In the midst of the craziness of my life, all of a sudden I’m getting wonderful reviews of the book I’d pretty much given up on. It never went anywhere. I’m not even sure I know how to find my publication website … or have any idea what my password is. Or anything.

If nothing else, it’s humbling that there can be such a huge disparity between my perception of the book I wrote and other people’s view of it. That I might not be the best judge of my work goes without saying … but to be 180 degrees out of alignment forces me to wonder what else I’m completely wrong about.

teepee book shelf

In any case, I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting the review here because I have no idea how one reblogs a review that isn’t on a blog. And this is on the Canadian Amazon site, making it even more inaccessible. The title of the book is also a live link to the source, so please visit that site too. The author deserves your support.

I’m beyond grateful for this review. I’m touched and encouraged. This is a difficult time for me, for obvious reasons. Having something so nice happen right now makes me feel (sorry about the pun) heartened.

THE 12-FOOT TEEPEE

5.0 out of 5 stars

The fascinating construction of a life Jan. 30 2014

By Jiibo Dyallo

Format: Kindle Edition | Amazon Verified Purchase

Marilyn Armstrong is a widely read blogger on WordPress, and that’s how I became aware of her. I thought, ‘anyone who writes this well must have written at least one book.’ The 12-foot Teepee, in fact, is the name of the book and the basis of the blog’s URL, teepee12 dot com.

Tempus fugit, especially for daily bloggers. Marilyn tells me, in correspondence, that she’s no longer quite the same person as the one who wrote the book. As a former resident of Jerusalem, though, she says she once lived near a place where archaeologists found “a Canaanite temple, on top of which (pillar on pillar) stood a Greek temple. On top of which (pillar on pillar) was a Roman temple. On top of which was – you guessed it, pillar on pillar – a synagogue.” No doubt today’s Marilyn stands pillar on pillar on the one who wrote this book, and I think that that keeps the book current. A life contains its own archaeology, and what is an autobiography (as I assume this is, in essence) if not a tell?

Protagonist ‘Maggie,’ as a child, was sexually abused by her father. That revelation is how the book begins. I worked for an LGBT newspaper in the 1980s and kept current on feminist and lesbian literature during the period when the magnitude of familial incest was first being disclosed to the world. I’ve read many dozens of accounts – brief, elongated, literary, plain, agonized, detached – by people who endured this experience. Also, I’ve read numerous complex bestsellers embedding the theme, such as Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin and Anne-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees. I noticed right away that Marilyn was somehow overcoming the saturation factor and writing highly readable text. Perhaps it was her style of writing – plainspoken enough to be nodded at by Hemingway, yet subtly full of craft. Her approach was fresh, and witty at appropriate moments. Perhaps there was some engaging mystery, too, in the enigma of her father as an inconspicuously, but almost incomprehensibly, evil man. I’m not sure if I would even have credited Marilyn with restraining herself from exaggeration if I hadn’t read M. Scott Peck’s monograph on such folk, People of the Lie. I knew that such individuals really do exist. In any case, Marilyn’s way of telling the tale with judicious truth but without a show of anguish, and without the jargon that is now often used in such accounts, made the difficult events completely readable.

The book then progressed through subtly interwoven anecdotes to the unveiling of related tales: the construction of a knock-off Sioux-style teepee as a project for self-healing and for spending quality time with a lively granddaughter; the concurrent battle with spinal problems and surgeons of greater and lesser competence; and the challenges of new-found poverty for Massachusetts people caught up in the tech bust of the 1990s. This all sounds daunting, not to mention rather random and terribly personal, but Marilyn makes it as vivid and coherent a piece of writing as you will find anywhere. She wins your heart. The feeling that you want things to go well for her (I don’t know her personally at all apart from a couple of emails back and forth among fellow bloggers) turns out to be a waterslide of suspense that runs you right through the book from beginning to end. She also integrates a spiritual journey from secular Judaism into Christianity that is neither dwelt upon nor glossed over – it has its time and place in the story – and it also arouses interest – regardless, I should think, of the personal persuasion of the reader. The bottom line, though, is that Marilyn is a writer who can captivate you with a tale of how her son pieced together PVC pipe sections to make wobbly teepee poles. I can’t imagine what topic she couldn’t make interesting.

I think that this book deserves more attention than it’s had. Marilyn is not sure that it does – she says in her email that she has, to some extent, returned to religious skepticism in recent years. Life has gone on. The tell has mounded up further. Where a church once stood in her psyche, a big community teepee for comparative religion and degrees of religious belief now stands, pole on pillar. Its architecture is newer than the book.

If you have a sense of discovery, though, you still need to know how it got there, and this book is the only dig that’s been done.

The 12-Foot Teepee by Marilyn Armstrong

Once upon a time, I built a teepee. I painted the door and filled it with things I loved. I made the poles, sanded each by hand, peeling the bark from each 16-foot sapling we had cut in our own woods.

Then I wrote a book about building it, and about life, transformation, and other things, some funny, some sad, some just whatever.

The manuscript for The 12-Foot Teepee took me about 7 months to write, almost as much time to edit, then a few more months to design the cover and the book. Getting it published, well … that’s a whole other story.

In winter.

This was my teepee.

It stood, through all seasons for five years. This summer, the poles could no longer support the canvas, and the canvas itself was mildewed. Its time was over and it came down.

I don’t think there will ever be another. Building it was a rebirth. A physical teepee is nothing but a bit of canvas and sticks, the rest is spirit, love, and hope. I knew it could not last forever, and it lasted as long as any teepee could in this climate … especially since I left it up through the winter … but I miss it and always will. I had some of my best hours in my teepee … the only place in my world where I could always sleep.

My favorite time in the teepee was when the snow was falling and I was cozy by my fire. It was the most peaceful place in my world.

You can find the book on Amazon, both as a paperback and in Kindle format. It is “The 12-Foot Teepee,”  by Marilyn Armstrong. You can read excerpts from it online. Eventually I’ll post some pieces of the book here. Just not tonight.

My life has moved on considerably since then but writing it was a turning point in my life.

IF YOU CAN’T FIX IT, COMFY FURNITURE HELPS

Ouch! That really hurts! My back’s been a mess since I was a kid. Fell off one horse too many. Rebuilt in 1967 — fusion and laminectomy using saws, drills and chisels — long before micro surgery and instrumentation. I’m not special because I deal with pain. I’ve got plenty of company. Sometimes, too much company. We’re all squished together in an over-crowded lifeboat.

96-Me-Young-HPCR-1

Me at 20, a year post spinal fusion.

I’ve had a lot of problems with my back over the years. The fusion, made from bone paste taken from my hip, began to disintegrate about 25 years ago. Nature kindly replaced it with a sheathing of arthritic calcification. That’s not such a bad thing because without the arthritis, I’d (literally) fall apart.

Looking at pictures of me in years gone by, I got to wondering how life landed me here. How did the bright-eyed woman become this creaking achy old thing fighting to keep moving under her own power?

Who is this person?

She doesn’t look or act like me. I can vouch for this because I used to be her, but now I am not at all sure who I am or whose body this is. Maybe while I slept, someone gave me an impostor body. I would jump right on the impostor theory except being me is not something a sane person would want. If I had a say in the matter, I would be healthier, wealthier and younger. Some other body, but I’d keep the brain. I like that part of me.

Life changes, sometimes in a split second.

Remember Christopher Reeve? One minute, he was a big, handsome, strapping movie star. A dreadful split second later, he was someone else.

My down hill slide occurred at the pace at which bones and joints calcify. I broke my back when I was a kid. I was reconstructed when I was 19. For the next 35 years, I refused to pay any attention to my spine. I was not going to be disabled. Not me. It was mind over matter and I am strong.

Turns out, mind over matter only takes you so far. Seven years ago, I began to have trouble walking. My balance became erratic. I lost sensation in my feet and miscellaneous reflexes disappeared. (I didn’t yet know about the heart problems which no doubt contributed.)

I went to doctors, orthopedic hot shots. All of them said I need a new spinal fusion, the old one having fallen apart over the long years. Diagnosis: Horrible spine. Solution: New fusion in which I get screwed together using metal rods. After surgery, I would be in even more pain than now, but my spine would be stable. Say what? This surgery would be the 21st century version of the surgery I had in 1967.

I said Hell no and took my case to the top spine guy in Boston, the Supreme Court of spinal diagnosis. He said I don’t need surgery. More to the point, he said the surgery wouldn’t solve my problems.

This time I heard: “Your back has got you through this far, it’ll take you the rest of the way. Pain control, gentle exercise, and recognize your limits. Don’t do anything stupid.” Like fall off a horse? Lift heavy packages?

selfie 23

There are a lot of members of the back pain club. After you join the club, you usually get a lifetime membership. I finally discovered I have a problem I can’t fix. No amount of persistence, research, medical attention or cleverness is going to make it go away. So I’ve designed the world to make my back happy. We have a back-friendly home. From our adjustable bed, to the reclining sofa, our place is kind to spines.

There’s no moral to this story. It’s just life. If you don’t die young, odds are you hurt. The years roll on, pain gets worse.

I’ve had to accept reality but I don’t have to like it. Sooner or later we all face an intractable problem. Or several. It’s a nasty shock, especially if you’ve always believed you are unstoppable. When you hit that wall, I recommend buying very comfortable furniture.

Getting There Is Not Always Enough … Marilyn Armstrong

We didn’t get to ride this one.

Yesterday, we went to Busch Gardens. We did nothing, got wet, walked too much, came back exhausted, soggy and poorer. We seem to have absolutely impeccable timing for getting places at exactly the wrong time!

We didn’t get to ride this either.

We planned carefully and sensibly. We figured that if we went late in the day, it would be cooler and probably less crowded too. Logical right? I mean, the park‘s open until 10 at night, so getting there at 3:30 should leave us more than ample time to whatever we wanted and ride whatever we wanted.

After we finally got through the long walk to the park from the very closest parking lot, we decided to take the train ride that loops around the park. It would give us something of an orientation, an overview.

After that we were nearly slavering with anticipation, we headed down the long road to Apollo’s Chariot, the first of the 6 big, bigger and biggest, baddest roller coasters we intended to ride.

We were at the front of the line on the platform, ready to board the ride. Which is when the announcement came that the ride was closing due to weather issues.

Not this one either.

Weather. Mainly, lightning. Not to mention wind and rain. So we stood around a bit, milled around in confusion, then eventually headed back the long road to the rest of the park.

With great anticipation, we waited for a weather update. We were in a code orange, which is bad, but the next announcement was “Code Red,” which was much worse and actually closed everything, except shops.

Shortly thereafter, the sky opened up and a sheet of water fell out. We stood under an awning speculating — along with everyone else — whether or not there was any chance the park would reopen.

Also, didn’t ride this one.

It did not reopen.

We hauled ass back to Guest Relations, where they were very gracious about the whole thing and seemed genuinely sorry that we come from so far away, didn’t get to do anything except eat a pretzel and get soaked. They refunded half the money because our friends had to leave today and we took rain checks and will make another stab at it tomorrow. We would have gone today, but the weather report doesn’t look promising and I couldn’t deal with the same scenario two days running.

The best experience of the day? The electric scooter that you can rent and drive around the park. I loved it! It was way zippier than I thought it would be and fun, too. Unfortunately, by the time I got it, I was already over-tired and when we finally got back to the hotel, having stopped at the grocery store in between and then cooking dinner … we had barely enough strength to climb into bed and pass out.

Today, the humidity is 99% and thunder storms are likely in the afternoon, so we  are going to go tomorrow morning when hopefully, it won’t be raining because that really IS our last chance.

Talk about disappointing! Nice that Garry and I get another shot at it, but I so wanted to go with my friend too … but … well … it didn’t happen and if there’s one thing you cannot count on, it’s usually the weather.

They’ve left now and it’s very quiet and feels kind of empty. I’m trying not to be a bit down-hearted, but it’s difficult.

Tomorrow is another day, I hope.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GARRY ARMSTRONG!

Kind of a sucky day for your celebration. Even though I bought your present before I went into the hospital, I don’t feel like I’m doing enough, saying enough to tell you what you mean to me, which is everything. You’ve saved my life, literally and every other way. I wish there were enough words. Or at least more and better words.

happy birthday from google

You’ve earned, at the very least, a medal for grace under fire. Now, it’s your birthday. You deserve a lot more and better than I can give you right now. Maybe ever.

Happy birthday Baby. You should have traded me in for a model that actually works while I was still under warranty.

As each day wears on and everything starts to hurt, I know I have to struggle through another night and then one more day. Even though each day is a bit better than the previous one … it’s hard. If I was tired before the surgery; I’m depleted since. You have kept me alive, kept me going, put up with all my crap.

You look tired.

You deserve much better. I hope knowing how much I love you and appreciate you will partly compensate for this nightmare I’ve put you through.

SUBLIME TO RIDICULOUS IN ONE EASY STEP

Daily Prompt: Linger

Right now, my entire life is one long linger. I am waiting for the other shoe, figuratively speaking, to drop. Waiting to be repaired. To be hurt, then to recover. I may not show the stress such waiting causes in any outward display (other than bad temper), but my dreams tell a story. Anxious dreams, wake-up-screaming dreams. All have one theme in common — events that are out-of-control.

Clearly, I read too much fantasy. The other night, I dreamed my real self was murdered by killing my shadow wraith which was roaming somewhere far distant from my flesh and blood self. I remember being surprised: I didn’t know you could shoot a wraith and have the attached body die. Dream and learn, eh? That isn’t Freudian — that’s literary.

75-Ghost-NK-081

Last night was more mundane, closer to home. A friend of my daughter’s who seemed to have moved in (her friends never want to go home) realized her clothing was dirty, so she decided to wash it. By hand. Then leave the piles of soggy garments all over the house.

I was in the process of trying to corral the wet laundry before it destroyed the floors … and I woke up realizing, hey, it’s laundry day again.

Laundry

Caught as I am between chapters of my life, I find myself making strange (hilarious?) discoveries. Apparently when the plastic surgeon rebuilt my breasts (implants) following the double mastectomy a couple of years back, she used muscles as part of the construction. Factory-original breasts have no muscles. There are muscles on the chest wall and off to the sides, but real breasts are not designed for men to ogle but to feed babies. Milk production. Way back in the long-lost past, I had (for a few months) “working breasts.”

That was more than 45 years ago. Last night I discovered I can make my breasts do all kinds of things. I discovered those newly arranged muscles! Together and independently, the muscles work and since I’m healed from that surgery (finally, just in time for the next one), I can control them. Cool.

Fake breasts

This was a startling discovery. I stood in front of my mirror making my breasts dance and salute for quite a while. Then I came out of the bedroom and showed Garry who laughed, but for some reason, did not think making a video to post on YouTube (it might go viral!) of my new talent was a good idea. Spoil sport.

This is what happens when you are on a long intermission between life and life. You linger.

Of course, I’d make every attempt to linger anyhow. The single thing I really don’t want to end is my life. I want to live. Life is the ultimate event and I want to keep it going.

I’m lingering with enthusiasm and verve.

More Lingering:

  1. My pre-game Pre-Game | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  2. Daily prompt: Linger | The Wandering Poet
  3. A Love Affair With Southern Italy | AS I PLEASE
  4. Home Sweet Home | Views Splash!
  5. Step by step | Le Drake Noir
  6. Daily Prompt: Linger | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  7. Linger Longer… | Hope* the happy hugger
  8. Never fly solo | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  9. If ever | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  10. Love for lingering, drumming | Journey of a Culture Carrier
  11. Lingering longer | Sue’s Trifles
  12. The Trouble with Lingering | Wise Woman in Training
  13. Daily Prompt: Linger « cognitive reflection
  14. I see stars | littlegirlstory
  15. Linger At The Beach | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  16. Lingering, all day today | sixty, single and surviving
  17. Linger | forgottenmeadows
  18. Not Wanting this Moment to End. Daily Prompt | Angela McCauley
  19. Linger | The Library Lady and Rosie Bear
  20. Daily Prompt: Linger | CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS

UPDATE! ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DELAY

There are two classic ways to jinx yourself:

  1. Announce what you will never, ever do.
  2. Ask “What else could possibly go wrong?”

Of all the things I said I would never do, I never moved back home. Given the nature of my relationship with my father, this should be no surprise. My mother died more than 30 years ago and she was home. I think I would have slept in a doorway before staying with my father.

As for all the other things I was sure I would never do? I paid the high prices I said I’d never pay. I’ve had the surgeries I said I’d refuse. I’ve put up with behavior from loved ones I said I’d never tolerate, but they’ve put up with a large amount of crap from me. Fair is fair.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG

These days, I modify all those “never” statements with “I hope I never have to …” because whenever I use the “never” word, I wind up feeling like a complete fool when I do exactly the thing I said I’d never do.

Words taste fine on the way out, but somehow, eating them is not so yummy. Moreover, saying “never” is daring Fate to nail your butt.

It’s the same as saying “What else could go wrong?” The very instant those words pass your lips, you can be sure you are going to get an answer to that question. And you are not going to like it.

So now, let’s move on to the news of the day. This is getting a bit repetitive and mildly embarrassing.

My surgery has been postponed again. Why? Because Beth Israel has a brilliant cardiac unit. And I guess March is heart failure month. They are backed up with emergencies. They have patients coming in on Medivac flights from California and other points south and west. Big emergencies that require multiple surgeons and take all day. And all the operating rooms are booked.

Expect-Delays-sign

I have been promised that I am “on” for Wednesday March 19th for the catheterization and Thursday March 20th for surgery. My surgeon personally promised I wouldn’t get bumped again. Except I know that if there are more emergencies they will take the emergencies and bump me again. And if I were one of those emergencies, I would want them to bump someone else and save my life. That’s what these guys do and that’s what they should do. It’s the price one pays for going to the premier cardiac hospital in the country. They take the cases no one else can handle.

So I’m back on hold. It’s a total pain in the butt and I can’t complain. But I want to complain. So okay. I’m complaining. I can’t make plans. I can’t go anywhere or do anything. All I can do is wait.

Funny about that because the one thing I have never been good at is waiting. I am impatient, permanently in a hurry. Perhaps this too is Karmic payback. I am learning that sometimes, I have to wait, whether I like it or not.

I’ll tell you one of the more interesting changes resulting from all this delay? Instead of dreading the surgery, I’m eager to get it done. Just so it’ll be over and I can start the business of recovery. I never would have expected this … but never say never, right?

RELATED POST (And where I got the idea how to write this post):

Never Say Never | Rosie Smartie Pants

Image

COLORS AT THE CROSSROAD

Daily Prompt: If You Leave

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CROSSROADS.

96-YellowLight-43

At the crossroad, the intersection, you have to wait for the lights.

Red. Yellow. Green.

Yellow, the in-between look-both-ways color. Yellow is the color to make you wait then proceed cautiously.

96-RedLight-38

Red is stop. Don’t go. Dangers lie ahead. Wait until the light changes. If you go when the light is red, who knows what might happen? Will you wait? Or will you dash into traffic, heedless of the outcome?

96-GreenLight-41

Green tells you it’s okay, that you are safe. But, are you safe? Just because the light is green and says you can continue on your way, it doesn’t tell you how your journey will turn out or warn you of other hazards.

Green is for going … but life is for living.

There are no colored lights along the road of life. Nothing to warn you of upcoming challenges. You’ll have to make your way on courage and faith.

Other entries:

  1. Daily Prompt & The Button (short story) | The Jittery Goat
  2. Dp Daily Prompt: If You Leave | Sabethville
  3. of last straws | Anawnimiss
  4. dulu dan nanti | The Frozen Tears
  5. Leaving | Attempted Human Relations and Self
  6. I’ve Had Enough of This Utah Place
  7. Daily Prompt: Break Ups | Cabernet In The Dark
  8. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  9. Beyond the horizon | MC’s Whispers
  10. Who Really DECIDES? | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  11. Harry Potter, Famous Dads and Stoke Newington | AS I PLEASE
  12. Dear John: a fictional letter | ALIEN AURA’S BlOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  13. Daily Prompt: Leave an old and start a new! Can I ? | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  14. Selbstständigkeit versus Festanstellung | Zeitarbeiterin
  15. when love appeared in a yellow brick road | kaleidoscope sparks of defiance
  16. DP: Leaving – Autumn by Ruswa Fatehpuri | aliabbasali
  17. We Gathered Yesterday | Exploratorius
  18. Daily Prompt: If You Leave « Mama Bear Musings
  19. Crossroads | Inks and Scribbles
Status

I’LL BE BACK

Daily Prompt: Never Surrender

Like a lichen on a rock, I cling. Like the sun, I rise. Like the earth, I renew.

I’ll be back.

DawnLateWinter09-300-72

Friday’s the big day, though I’ll be in the hospital as of Thursday for cardiac catheterization. Hopefully they won’t find anymore stuff that needs repairing. Garry will try to send updates, but he’s going to be busy and tired, so be gentle with him. This is hard for him too.

Stubbornly, determinedly, I’ll come back. Until then, I will miss you.

Other entries:

  1. Daily Prompt: Never Surrender- Between Resilience and Stubbroness | Journeyman
  2. The Trial, Not For the Weak of Faint of Heart: Part 1 | jlaneb
  3. No surrender on Mental Illness | ALIEN AURA’S BlOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  4. There are just some things I like a certain way. The right way. | thoughtsofrkh
  5. Stubborn as a Mule! | meanderedwanderings
  6. Pardon me for everything I’m about to say | Attempted Human Relations and Self
  7. Welcome to the jungle | The verbal hedge
  8. Daily Prompt: Never Surrender | My Extraordinary Everyday Life
  9. Health Goals, Easy Going Or Stubborn? | Because It Calms My Nerves:
  10. The Conundrum | Each Feather, A Freedom
  11. Java, Joe, Carbon Remover, Plasma | Exploratorius
  12. Tweet, Tweet, Twitterfiction | My Little Avalon
  13. Steadfast in my integrity: I am my mother’s daughter « psychologistmimi
  14. How Do I Get My Son To Go To School | A mom’s blog
  15. I am not bossy, I AM the boss | IvyMosquito
  16. Daily Prompt: Never Surrender | Finding Life
  17. Stubborn Love | peacefulblessedstar
  18. Daily Prompt: Never Surrender | Life is great
  19. Stubborn Dutch | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  20. Daily Prompt: Never Surrender | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

GOLDEN WHAT?

Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years

When you think about retirement and “the golden years,” you probably think it means free time. After decades of deadlines, you can do what you want, when you want. Time to travel, time to sleep, time to be with friends. 

It doesn’t usually work out that way. As a start, though I’m not sure why, the minute you retire, you’re incredibly busy. Nature abhors a vacuum and your days fill up. Life becomes unexpected.

You will wonder how you ever had time to work a full-time job.

Old Number 2 -1

IF YOU DON’T DIE YOUNG YOU WILL GET OLD

Your friends get old and some move away. With luck, you’ve got friends and family near enough to visit easily. It’s a gift. But you can’t count on having the old gang in the neighborhood.

Enter email, Skype and social networking. I don’t care who invented the Internet. I’m just glad it exists.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN? OY.

If you are one of the lucky ones who have money and time, you may not have the energy or emotional fortitude to deal with the vicissitudes of modern travel. To put it succinctly, modern travel sucks. It’s not elegant or romantic. It’s hard work for which you pay.

On local roads ...

Travel used to be fun when I was young, but it’s been less fun with each passing year. Now, air travel’s a disgrace. Airports and security turn vacations into stress tests, nightmares in which strangers paw you and security personnel dismantle your luggage. There’s no choice if you’re want to go long distances or cross oceans; you have to fly. Good luck with that.

I love flying. If I had a private jet and could skip the airport, I’d travel. Silly me. If I had that kind of money, a lot of things would be different. Like pretty much everything. Never mind. Forget I said anything.

WHERE’S THE MONEY?

Retirement means a fixed income. Your “salary” stays the same forever, while prices don’t. It takes a while to come to grips with this. After you retire, you will never get a raise. Or a Christmas bonus.

You will never have more buying power than you do today. Time erodes the value of pensions. Younger people don’t get it, but they will someday. Their time will come and they won’t like it. No one does.

On the up side, you will find stuff to do that doesn’t cost much money. Museums and other public venues have senior rates the same as kid prices. Movie theaters have cheap afternoon rates as well as special showings of classic movies. Senior discounts are a big perk.

Never forget to take your senior discount! It’s the least they can for you do after all your years of hard work.

OH MY ACHING …

Most people don’t have as many problems as I do, but everyone has some physical issues. Old bodies wear out. Things hurt. Reflexes slow down. You aren’t as strong as you were. You tire more quickly. If you fall, you don’t bounce. You go splat.

It’s normal, but aggravating. If you’re smart, you adapt. Enjoy what your body can do and don’t waste your life fighting to be what you were — while missing the fun of being what you are.

75-AutumnalFigs-HP

Buck up buckaroos. Getting older isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Consider the alternative.

You will have fun. You will adapt, accept limitations and enjoy life differently. Keeping an open mind helps. A sense of humor helps more.

NOT WORKING IS THE POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW

The golden-est part of the golden years is not working.

Not working is absolutely, unequivocally a most excellent thing. If only they would just keep sending checks. I don’t miss working, not for a minute, but I miss getting paid.

Our skills are better than ever. Creative artists and people in any field for which mental rather than physical prowess is required, get another chance. We blog, do charity work. Write books, take pictures, sculpt, paint. Design things. Create magnificent gardens. We are treasure troves of experience and knowledge should anyone choose to ask.

Friends

I’ve had a lot of fun recently. I’ve written stuff I like, taken pictures with which I’m pleased. Spent time with friends I love. Laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed.

Now I have to go get my heart rebuilt. Drat. It’s always something.

Other entries:

  1. Social Media has changed me | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  2. Golden Years | Icezine
  3. Counting The Scars/ Weekly Writing Challenge | standinginthestorm
  4. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Golden Years | Mirth and Motivation
  5. Fearless Youth | the intrinsickness
  6. Golden Years | mnemosynesandlethe
  7. Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years | MythRider
  8. i am always looking | y
  9. nobody has said if | y
  10. Age is Just a Number | Random Words
  11. The Age of a New Season | Mary J Melange
  12. Stories From My Mind
  13. It is OK, I am here | jessicadafoe
  14. We’re Still Aging! | theeyelife
  15. Age isn’t defined by a number (unless you’re a minor…). | …Properly Ridiculous…
  16. Working Girl | Never Stationary
  17. Golden Years (DPChallenge) | Between Madness & Euphoria
  18. “Unforgotten” | Cosmic Heroism
  19. And Here We Are, Stuck Moving Forward | A Cool Glass of Lemonade
  20. Age is Just a Number –  Ha! Age is a Bunch of Numbers! | Once Upon Your Prime. . .

SOUP AND SANDWICH

Everyone who knew Harold would agree; he was an orderly man.  Everything about his well-ordered existence was, well, “orderly.” That would perhaps be the only word to describe it.  He firmly believed in the adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  That did not just include things, but it also included time.  Harold ran on a strict schedule and parceled out his time for maximum efficiency.  He was dependable, likable and predictable.

72-StPetePostcard-soft

Harold had been chief mechanical engineer at a plant that made small motors for big applications.

This work demanded designing a wide variety of parts for the many specialized applications.  Harold was up to every task.  He drew his special parts the old-fashioned way at his drafting table.

He kept copies of all his special drawings in a filing cabinet, organized by type of part.  His methodical brain could recall all the special requests to modify the little motors to power everything imaginable.  While you would have no idea all the appliances and machines and gadgets that required little motors, Harold could see them all in the depths of the storage places in his mind.

When Harold was approaching retirement, he knew instinctively that it was time to move on.  More work was being done by computer, and while Harold mastered the technique, he could not set aside his love of the drafting table itself.  A desk and computer were okay, but his computer-like mind held all the gigabytes he needed.  As for manufacturing the parts, that was now being farmed out to other places. He could no longer watch his creations made real in the machine shop.

The next phase of life brought retirement on the gulf coast of Florida.  This was not a retirement were you could just be lazy and do nothing.  Harold had imposed an orderly routine on his life.

There probably would have been no other path to happiness.  Harold’s road was clear and free from clutter.  His home was so neat and clean you would swear he had a helper.  There were few items out and on display as everything had a specific place to be put away and that is exactly what Harold did.  As for things that Harold did not think had a practical use, he threw them away, gave them away or recycled them.  He owned nothing that he could not imagine using in the near future.

For his weekly schedule, Harold chose Mondays for a walk on the beach.  A few moments admiring the Gulf was a retirement activity Harold felt worth scheduling.  If the weather was inclement, he drove into Sarasota for a little stroll through a shopping area.  He might look for items he previously recorded on a list.  Monday was the appointed day for picking up requirements, there would be no unplanned or hasty trips to the store.  Time was too valuable to spend wandering to and fro.  The only wandering of the week would be down the beach on the appropriate Monday morning hour for such things.

Tuesdays and Thursdays were spent in town at the local library.  Harold maintained a list of books he felt would be worth reading and set out to read as many as he could find.  If he did not finish the book at the library, he would check it out to make sure he had it on his next visit.  On a rare occasion he might continue reading at home when his schedule for the day was completed.  That only came when something he was reading really caught his fancy.  There certainly were a few good books on mechanical engineering and anything he discovered on the topic was a delightful find.

Fridays were for sports.  He read about the local high school and college sports in the morning.  He watched reports on the cable news channel, Sarasota Now.  In March, Harold carefully planned which Major League Baseball spring training games he should attend.  His love of sports was not quite the same as his love of mechanical engineering, but it came close.

lunch 2

While Harold might declare Sunday to be his day of rest, it was anything but that.  He cleaned the small townhouse on Sundays and checked many of the drawers and boxes to make sure everything was put away properly.  He reviewed the contents of the closets to determine if there was anything that no longer belonged.  Cleaning and inspecting everything could take Harold most of the day, but he did not mind.  It gave him a great deal of satisfaction.

Perhaps most special of all the scheduled activities was Harold’s trip to the Wild West Restaurant and Sports bar every Wednesday and Saturday for lunch.  When Harold arrived at 1 pm sharp, cane in hand and smile on his face, every one greeted him warmly.  “Hello Harold,” the manager on duty would shout with glee, calling attention to his arrival.  At that the waitresses, would call out his name and people would turn around to see who entered.

“Hello Harold,” the bartender would say loudly so her “hello” was heard with all the others.  The broad smile on Harold’s face got even wider at all the attention.  It seemed the entire crew felt a bit sorry for Harold.  He was always alone.  He moved deliberately, carefully placing his cane down with his left hand every time his right foot took a step forward. While they considered Harold a simple, maybe even dim-witted but likable old-timer and just wanted him to feel good, Harold was well aware that he got the added attention due to his apparent simple nature.

Once Harold found his table near the window, his usual waitress, Tiffany, came over to give him a hug.  “Would you like the soup and sandwich special?” Tiffany began.  “Yes, please, and I will have the chicken noodle soup.”  There was no need to ask Harold what he wanted.  It was ham and cheese sandwich with chicken noodle soup on Wednesday and vegetable beef on Saturday.

He enjoyed a bit of ESPN, a lot of attention and a good lunch. Then Tiffany brought the bill and wrote her name and put a big smiley face next to it.  So, twice each week Harold purchased attention and friendship for the price of the soup and sandwich special.

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I AM A PEBBLE, LIFE IS A RIPPLE

I am a pebble. Drop me in the water and ripples spread along the surface, marking where my pebble began its descent. Then the water closes. The ripples vanish, leaving nothing to show where the pebble sank.

Unlike the pebble, I plan to resurface. I’m just not sure when, exactly.

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We all sign up for stuff with full intentions of fulfilling our obligations. But sometimes — often — life gets in the way of art. Shit happens. We have to adjust. Commitments and projects are set aside for later or for others to do. A lot of stuff I planned will have to go on without me for a while.

I like to think you will miss me, but I know the Internet is rich with bloggers, websites and news. It moves on. I’m just a pebble on that huge beach strewn with millions of rocks.

I follow a lot of you. I don’t always comment, but when you allow it, I leave a “like” as a calling card. Those of you who don’t accept “likes” do yourselves a disservice. Many folks — including me — don’t always have something to say. It doesn’t mean we didn’t like your post. Sometimes I just don’t have anything valuable to contribute. Other times, there are hundreds of comments in place which have covered the bases. I’m not going to add anything to the dialogue. If you let me click “like,” you will know I was there. If you don’t … well … your loss.

Now, about my site. Exactly how I’m going to keep it going while I’m recuperating, I don’t quite know. I know part of it. Garry will write more, Rich will pitch in more too. I’ll try to create some posts to go up when I’m not up to doing new material. I hope you won’t stop coming by. Rich and Garry are great writers and deserve your support, especially since they are supporting me on top of their other obligations.

For the blogs I follow,  everyone will be set to “no mail” until I’m well enough to deal with it. I’m afraid my inbox will explode otherwise. It will be bad enough with only bills and junk mail. When I think about how much could pile up in weeks and months … well, formidable doesn’t cover it. I will also set my scheduled posts to “no comment. “

You will still be able to leave a “Like” because I love knowing you visited. All of this is intended to keep my email from overwhelming Garry, who is going to have a lot on his plate. When I get back on the computer, I don’t want to be faced with thousands of notifications. I’ll just delete them en masse anyway. That’s what happens when I get back from vacations, too, and I always lose stuff I would I wanted. Don’t take it personally. It has everything to do with me and nothing to do with anyone else.

I have turned off a lot of stuff already and I don’t have time to do much visiting. I’m sorry about that. It’s become so much a part of my routine to go and see what all of you are doing … but there’s no more time.

I’ll turn off the rest shortly. I need to use what time I have to get things in order. There’s lots still to do. The time has come to get my house in order, literally and figuratively.

If this is leaving you puzzled because you missed part one of my ongoing medical drama, you can click the link and read THE HEART SURGERY UPDATE

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BIRTHDAYS AND OTHER DAYS OF JOY

Daily Prompt: Shake it Up

by Krista on February 24, 2014
You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RECKLESS.

- – – – -

And this is as reckless as we ever got. Reckless enough!

And this is as reckless as we ever got. Reckless enough!

Sorry. No pictures of youthful birthday parties. Never had one. I don’t even remember either of my siblings having a birthday party except for my sister when she was … like five maybe? Otherwise, there wasn’t much celebrating in my house. Later, when my life was my own, we had some good times.

And around we go again. I rode the beast with my granddaughter 7 times that day, twice in the morning and five more times in the afternoon. I think she was ready to keep going forever and maybe, she had the right idea.

And around we go again. I rode the beast with my granddaughter 7 times that day, twice in the morning and five more times in the afternoon. I think she was ready to keep going forever and maybe, she had the right idea.

Garry threw me a surprise party on my 60th birthday … and we went to New Orleans for my 50th. I took him to Cooperstown for his 50th. Childhood was a long time ago and stuff that happened to me as a grownup somehow seems more relevant at this age and stage. Twelve, as I vaguely recall, was not one of my vintage years. Awkward, a mouth full of braces, short, half woman, mostly kid, frizzy hair and a general look of dazed confusion at a world that didn’t seem to have anything to do with me.

It got better. Then worse. Then better again. That’s life. Much like the roller coasters I dearly love, life has its ups and downs. The downs are terrifying, the ups give you a chance to catch your breath before you plunge down the next drop. When you pull into the station, laughing and gasping, what do you say? I say: “Let’s do it again!”

This was one of my "am I going to live to see another birthday" years. I almost didn't.

My 60th birthday. This was one of the “am I going to live to see another birthday” years. I almost didn’t.

Other entries:

  1. Brent’s Ten Dollar Idea And The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  2. Daily Prompt: Shake It Up | Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer
  3. Daily Prompt: Shake it Up | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  4. Prayer for Faith | Daily Prompt: Shake it Up | likereadingontrains
  5. Happy Birthday to Me | Knowledge Addiction
  6. Daily Prompt: Ten Minutes of Nothing | Under the Monkey Tree
  7. Twelve | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  8. Twelve: Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  9. Daily Prompt – Reckless – Broken |
  10. My Day. | Crossroads
  11. [M.M.X.I.V. 55] Snowball fight (Fiction) | Never A Worry
  12. Daily Prompt: Shake it Up | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  13. DP Daily Prompt: Shake it Up | Sabethville
  14. Birthdays | Sinister Pacifism
  15. Twelfth birthday | Sue’s Trifles
  16. Birthday cake | dandelionsinwind
  17. DAILY PROMPT: SHAKE IT UP | CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS

A MESSAGE FROM YOUR SPONSOR

Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up

You. We know *you* are vice-free, dear Daily Post reader. But, or perhaps we should say, “butt,” others around you and in your life are riddled with vices: they smoke; they eat too much celery; they hog the covers; they can’t keep their hands out of the office candy bowl. Which vice or bad habit can you simply not abide in others? Photographers, artists, poets: show us VICE.

- – – – -

When I gave up smoking, I got worried. I had just given up my last true vice. If I had to do any negotiating with God (“Hey, God? If you get me out of this mess I’ll give up … “) I had nothing to work with. I drink coffee, but that’s not a vice. That’s food. I don’t drink alcohol and I’m not addicted to drugs (dependency on blood pressure medication does not count).

Laundry

We’ve been living in a hive, three generations of family packed together. Not as tight as sardines, but tight enough. Each of us has learned to (1) Not sweat the small stuff, small being loosely defined as “not worth fighting about,” (2) To be extremely wary of casting stones, since they have a nasty habit of returning — boomerang-like — to whack you solidly on the skull

Just ONE little thing. Please, please don’t just leave your laundry in the washer and dryer. Finish your laundry and leave the machines clear for those others of us who need to cleanse our own washables. Thank you. We really appreciate your attention to this matter.

This has been a message from your sponsor. We now resume the regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

Other Entries:

  1. I drink too much – Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  2. Vices of many… | thoughtsofrkh
  3. Waking Up To A Nightmare And Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  4. One Crazy Mom » Never Gonna Give You Up….Or Am I?
  5. Smelly, Stinky Vice Rant
  6. I.N.S.O.M.N.I.A. | littlegirlstory
  7. Vice and Versa | Kate Murray
  8. Close Enough | Rima Hassan
  9. Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up | The Wandering Poet
  10. Just Take My Ears. You Can Have Them. | aMUSEing THINGS
  11. Number 49 | My Little Avalon
  12. Please Throw Away the Candy Wrappers | marjanitalarosa
  13. Hope | Busy Mind Thinking
  14. Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up | Delicious Ambiguity
  15. S. Thomas Summers: Writing with Some Ink and a Hammer | When the Vultures Come
  16. Just Order, Food Neophobia Or Not | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  17. Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up- Dishonesty and Self Hatred | Journeyman
  18. Never gonna give you up… Today’s daily prompt. | The Shevster’s Space
  19. Consider this! | The Shotgun Girls
  20. Daily Prompt: Being Mean! | All Things Cute and Beautiful
  21. Viceroy of Micro Managing | To Write With a Broken Pencil is Pointless
  22. DAILY PROMPT: NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP – VICE | Francine In Retirement
  23. Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up | Views Splash!
  24. Daily Prompt: Never Gonna Give You Up | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU: IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK OUT THE WAY YOU EXPECT

Daily Prompt: With or Without You

I told Garry I was going to buy a place to live, with or without him. I had just gotten the proceeds of my Israeli divorce. It wasn’t a huge amount of money and I wanted it invested in something solid.

75-BricksBoston

Garry said he wasn’t ready. I bought the place anyway. It was the wrong place, especially when, a few months later, he was ready — and I’d already spent the money.

So much for ultimatums. It took years to off-load the original unsuitable condo I bought.

Ultimatums can backfire!

Other Entries:

  1. Brandon’s Mentor And The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  2. When People Have More Faith in You than Yourself | Rima Hassan
  3. Drawing a line in the sand: Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  4. Streetlight | 365 days of defiance
  5. Daily Prompt: Till Death do us Part? | Anniemation Floe
  6. A Game of Picnic | My Play Nook
  7. Stop Telling Lies Or Else! – Writing | wangsgard.com
  8. Torture of Four Years | Daily Prompt: With or Without You | likereadingontrains
  9. Daily Prompt: With or Without You | Sabethville
  10. Get It In Gear | The Shotgun Girls
  11. Drawing a line in the sand: Daily Prompt | Alienorajt

DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME – WE DUCK FOR METEORITES

Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me

Anybody can die of anything anytime. It’s a fact. You, me, anyone — we could step into the street and get hit by a bus, be struck by lightning, fall down and break our skulls. We could be tooling along on the way to the grocery store and get broadsided by a truck. Life has no guarantees, not for anyone of any age,

However, for some of us, the likelihood of demise sooner rather than later is statistically higher. The longer you live, the closer comes your last day on Earth. Unless you are my ex-mother-in-law. She will celebrate her 104th birthday the day after tomorrow. Imagine 104. Her son’s been gone for 25 years, but a rumor is spreading that Grandma K is eternal and may have beaten the odds. She is a special case, the only person I’ve known who has lived to be that old. For the past decade (more?) everyone has been saying “Well, you know Grandma K is really getting up there. We’d better not skip a visit’cause it might be the last …”

NOTE: Grandma Kraus died today, February 18, 2014 — one day short of her 104th birthday. Rest in peace, Grandma. You were one amazing lady.

insane doctor cartoon

Me, I’m another story. I keep almost dying, then not. Divine intervention is a genuine possibility. I think it has already happened.  Twice. My question is … “Hey, Mr. Biggest of the Big … just in case things go awry, how about a quick visit to fix things? We haven’t chatted in a while and I’ll be available for an exchange of thoughts on eternity right around the beginning of March. Do you need my address? Email? Website? Just asking.”

Here’s my take on it.

On March 6th … 20 days from now … I am going to be hit by a meteorite. Unlike the usual victims of meteorite incidents, I know the exact date of the hit. Everyone assures me meteorite repair technology has really come a long way and while it is wise to not get whacked by an extra-terrestrial missile, there are times you can’t avoid it. I know when I’m going to be hit, splat, splotch, bonk. And all I can say about that is OUCH.

Unlike most of the people writing this, I’m trusting all those kindly folks who assure me I needn’t worry (not worry? Really?) because I’ll be just fine (you think?). They must know something I don’t know because me? I’m worried. I am going with the working hypothesis I will survive and my disappearance will be temporary. I will resurface, hopefully properly repaired.

Please do remember me. I’ll be gone for a while … weeks at least. If all goes well, I’ll be back. Slowly, then more vigorously.

I hope you’ll remember I used to write and take pictures. I hope you will come ’round to see what cool new stuff Garry and Rich are writing … and all the stuff I’ve scheduled while I’m gone. I won’t be able to respond to comments, but I’ll think of you often. You have become friends, even though most of us have never physically been in the same place at the same time.

Starting March 5th, I’ll be in at Beth Israel in Brookline. First in the ICCU, then the regular cardiac ward. Then home for 10 to 12 weeks or when I can climb the steps — whichever comes first. Official menu: Septal myectomy and mitral valve repair, with a cardiac catheterization before surgery. Assuming surgery goes well and without significant complications, I should be able to write when I get home. Writing is something I can (usually) do even when I’m not up to snuff.

If by some dreadful turn of events, I don’t return, remember me kindly. That I was funny, passionate, and tried to help where I could. Even when I went wrong, I meant well.

Other Entries:

  1. Albert In Charge And The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  2. I Will Not Die ! | Knowledge Addiction
  3. Just a memory | We Live In A Flat
  4. When People Have More Faith in You than Yourself | Rima Hassan
  5. No thanks, I don’t much fancy contemplating snuffing it. Ask me Tuesday, maybe? | thoughtsofrkh
  6. Darling loved ones…Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  7. Daily Promt: Don’t you forget about me-Wisdom | Journeyman
  8. Legacy | A mom’s blog
  9. Legacy Shmegacy | mostlytrueramblings
  10. DP Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me | Sabethville
  11. Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  12. So much yet so little | A picture is worth 1000 words
  13. Death Among Friends – Musings | wangsgard.com
  14. Condemned | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  15. Soundtrack Series – 001 | My Days In A Song
  16. I’m Not Evil | Views Splash!
  17. S. Thomas Summers: Writing with Some Ink and a Hammer | Legacy
  18. A way to Life.. | WanderLust
  19. Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me #photography #legacy | ThisCornerOfTheWoods
  20. Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss